Minutes of the Joint APSUO Steering Committee
and the Partner User Council Meeting

Argonne National Laboratory
August 22, 2007

APSUO Steering Committee Member in attendance: N. Campobasso, P. Evans, P. Fuoss, B. Golden, T. Graber, G. Ice, N, Leyarovska, L. Lurio, S. Mochrie, A. Mulichak, D. Reis, and L. Young.

Partner User Council Members/Alternates in attendance: W. Anderson, C. Benmore, B. Bunker, J. Chrzas, P. Fenter, T. Irving, A. Joachimiak, D. Keane, L. Keefe, K. Moffat, C. Ogata, G. Shen, B, Stephenson, E. Stern, J. Viccaro, and S. Wasserman.

APS Attendees: J. Cross, R. Fenner, J. M. Gibson, P. Jemian, G. Long, D. Mills, J. Quintana, B. Ruzicka, K. Sidorowicz, G. Srajer, S. Strasser, M. Vigliocco-Hagen, and P. Zschack.

APS Update:

J. Murray Gibson described a recent Sunday evening tornado warning when many users did not go immediately to tornado shelters. It must be stressed that resident users and APS staff must take charge of the situation and guide the users to the proper designated shelters. Tornado shelter information is included in user orientation. Also, a review of rooms currently designated as tornado shelters will be conducted.

Gibson informed the group that both the House and Senate Energy and Water committees have reported out with the president's budget, and the President has signed the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act and Energy Bill authorizing doubling of the Office of Science budget. However, with the election and the current political situation, there could be more uncertainty; it is likely that the Continuing Resolution will go well into the new fiscal year. Advocacy is essential in these times.

Gibson also reported on the new IEX beamline to be funded by NSF and DOE. This Collaborative Development Team (CDT) will bring a brilliant source of polarized soft x-rays to the APS, and will be useful for studies of electronic structure. This proposal was led by Juan-Carlos Campuzano of Argonne's MSD, Peter Abbamonte of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Jim Allen of the University of Michigan. This new endeavor was one of the ideas that emerged from the 2004 strategic planning workshop. Other proposals, such as bending magnet beamlines and a magnetism beamline are under development at this time. It is expected that ~one new project per year will begin as a prelude to the upgrade.

Gibson brought the group up to date on the proposed APS Upgrade. The upgrade remains on the Office of Science facilities planning map. Various options are still being considered, although the ERL is favored. The CMMP report came out endorsing the importance of ERLs and seeded FELs for the future of the field. An R&D proposal for BES is being prepared this month. The key issues in the next couple of years will be LINAC cavity design, cathode development, and a possible 100-200MeV test facility. The APSUO and the PUC should articulate the need for equipment and resources for our upgrades. Proposals for LDRD funding have been submitted to support upgrades for imaging science and utrafast science. Determination has to be made as to how APS Users can best support a detector initiative. Many of these topics and future needs will be discussed at either a user workshop or a retreat that could be held sometime in 2008. More information on this possibility will be forthcoming.

Gibson shared the good news on the IG audit of proprietary rates. The Office of Science will support the management response position (as outlined in the report that was furnished to each member). The transition to “actuals” is 2009, and there will be no back charges. The proprietary rates for FY07 is $255.87 per hour. FY08 rates are estimated to be $303.69. Gibson suggested that a working group be formed to look at these costs and study this situation closely to suggest possible changes. (A group of proprietary beam time users is being formed to discuss alternative ways to calculate the numbers used in the proprietary rate formula.)

A new approach to XOR sector reviews has been undertaken this year. The reviews are science-oriented cross-cuts, combined with a management review of all XOR Sectors. This approach is an experiment suggested by the SAC. If it works well, it may be applied for all sector reviews.

Gibson reviewed the recommendations from the MX Cross-cut Review Report (listed below):

  • Collect and report additional and more specific information on productivity (publications, PDB deposits, etc. by beamline).
  • All MX beamtime requests should be rapid access (CATS should structure schedules to accommodate this mode of access.
  • APS management should not use oversubscription as the sole metric for quality of a beamline.
  • Enhance the ease of access to GU MX time by creating a direct link from the APS home web page.
  • Mail-in should be supported by MX CATs for General Users, not just for CAT members.
  • Cross-cut reviews of structural biology should be conducted every two years.
  • MX CAT directors should be encouraged to meet regularly to discuss common applications and problems.

Gibson requested that the MX CAT Directors, along with the Scientific Interest Group for MX, meet to provide recommendations to the APS on the following:

  • What should the penalty be, if any, to a general user for cancellation of scheduled beamtime?
  • How should scheduled GU time be treated for “accounting purposes” if the time is scheduled but the user cancels and a replacement GU cannot be found?
  • What responses should the APS give to each of the recommendations from the cross-cut review of macromolecular crystallography?

These recommendations should be furnished to the APS before the next APSUO and PUC Meetings.

XSD Beamline Upgrades and Infrastructure Improvements:

George Srajer briefed the group on the XOR beamlines that have been or are going to be upgraded. He explained the science done at each of these sectors and what improvements will be or have been carried out. (For additional information, Srajer's presentation will be posted on the APSUO Steering Committee web site at http://www.aps.anl.gov/About/Committees/APS_Users_Organization/Meetings/index.html).

Discussion took place regarding advisory groups for each of these XOR beamlines. A meeting will be arranged to formulate ground rules for advisory committees to be formed as either science-based, beamline-based, XOR Group-based. The primary issue will be the appropriate mechanism to ensure user input when decisions are made on beamtime allocations and beamline changes. Members of the group will be Brian Stephenson, Simon Mochrie, Linda Young, Bruce Bunker, Tim Graber, and George Srajer. Susan Strasser will organize the time and place for the meeting. The committee will provide its recommendations at the next APSUO and PUC meetings.

Network Security and Impact on Science:

Ken Sidorowicz briefed the group on the Argonne IT committees at Argonne, the network architecture at the APS, network performance testing, remote access policy for Argonne, the need for cyber security and future plans in these areas. He stressed the fact that the need for cyber security is essential to prevent network hackers from disrupting accelerator and/or beamline operations. A suggestion was made to offer a FAQ page for users, as it may be helpful.

Discussion items:

MX Cross-Cut Review Report: Discussion centered on if there should be penalties for users who cancel beamtime only two days prior to scheduled beamtime. It is felt that the CAT should not be penalized for someone canceling beamtime. It was recommended that the MX Scientific Interest Group meet to discuss how to handle beamtime cancellations and GU time.

Beamtime allocations in sectors/beamlines with multiple techniques/instruments: The group felt that this topic should be looked at further. It was felt that allocating by score worked well, but the consensus was that whatever is done, it should be out in the open and allow the committees to make recommendations on how this is handled.

APSUO Steering Committee Executive Session:

The minutes from the May 9, 2007, APSUO Steering Committee Meeting were approved as written.

Larry Lurio was elected as the Steering Committee Vice-chair. He will serve as the Chair of the 2008 User Meeting scheduled for May 5 -- 9, 2008.

The User Meeting Organizing Committee was formed:

  • Larry Lurio, Chair
  • Paul Fuoss, Workshop Chair
  • Barbara Golden
  • Paul Evans, representing the CNM
  • Tim Graber

Comments on User Week 2007:

  • Regarding the student poster prize competition, perhaps more information is needed to make a good selection. All in all, it was felt that it worked fairly well, so it will be handled as it was last year.
  • APS Science was diluted because of the APS Upgrade.

Advocacy Efforts: There needs to be a way to send out mass e-mails to users without using DOE resources. IRS Form SS-4 will enable the APSUO to have the status as a not-for-profit agency and have a non-interest-bearing account. Funds from this account could be used to support an e-mail server. However, it is not clear how the APSUO will generate funds to place in the account. More research will have to be done.

Next Meeting:

The next APSUO Steering Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2007.